Late strike sends Stars home up 2-0


HERSHEY, Pa … Former Bear Travis Morin roofed home a bad-angle backhand to break a 3-3 tie with 45.3 seconds left in regulation, sending Texas to a 4-3 win over Hershey before a stunned 10,872 fans at Giant Center on Saturday. The Stars head home holding a 2-0 series lead over the regular-season champion Bears in the Calder Cup Finals, with Game 3 set for Monday night in suburban Austin.

Hershey, which now trails 2-0 in a series for the first time since the 2008 division semifinals vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, had been 37-1-0-0 in its previous 38 home games before falling to Texas on Giant Center ice twice in a three-day span.

Texas nabbed the game-winning goal on Saturday just 11 seconds after failing on a late power play.

Stars forward Scott McCulloch’s initial wrist shot from the blue line went wide to the left of Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth, but Morin collected the rebound off the wall and backhanded it over Neuvirth from just inside the end line.

Morin, who appeared in five games for Hershey during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, broke an eight-game goal-scoring drought with his fourth tally of the playoffs.

The Stars had allowed the first goal in each of their last 11 games, but this time they grabbed leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 before finally pulling out the 4-3 win.

Aaron Gagnon, Garrett Stafford, and Mathieu Beaudoin scored Texas’ other goals, while the Bears received markers from Steve Pinizzotto, Francois Bouchard, and Andrew Gordon.

Gagnon silenced the sellout crowd by converting a partial breakaway off a feed from Colton Sceviour just a minute into the game, but Pinizzotto answered 6:40 later, collecting a turnover at the Stars’ offensive blue line and finishing a 2-on-1 by rifling home a shot from the right face-off dot.

Stafford received credit for a goal at 11:03 of the second period after his shot from the right point deflected into the net off Bears defenseman Bryan Helmer. Hershey came right back though, as Bouchard’s one-time blast from center point beat Texas goaltender Matt Climie to make it 2-2.

At 3:18 of the third frame, Texas went up once again when Beaudoin converted a nifty cross-crease feed from Perttu Lindgren – who had two helpers on the night – for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

But after the several minutes of sustained Bears pressure in the Texas zone, Gordon beat Climie with a juicy rebound off a Patrick Wellar shot at 10:44, tallying his 11th goal in just 13 games this postseason to even the tilt at 3-3.

That set the stage for Morin’s game-winner, which gave the Stars their fourth straight victory, all on the road.

Climie (7-3) earned the victory for Texas with 25 saves on 28 shots in net. Neuvirth (10-4), who allowed four goals for the first time in 20 career home playoff starts, took the loss with 19 saves.

2010 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Thu., June 3 – Texas 2, HERSHEY 1
Game 2 – Sat., June 5 – Texas 4, HERSHEY 3
Game 3 – Mon., June 7 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., June 9 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., June 11 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Mon., June 14 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 16 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00